The latest generation of electric drives for the ID vehicle portfolio has been unveiled by Volkswagen. The new APP550 rear-wheel drive system is stated to deliver improved efficiency and increased power and range. Delivery of the first vehicles fitted with the OEM’s new-generation drive system – which outputs 210kW (286ps) – will begin at the end of 2023.
The drive design is based on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive (MEB) matrix, a vehicle architecture tailored specifically for electric models.
“Because the available space has not changed, we were compelled to develop a new drive that achieves significant improvements in performance and efficiency in spite of being subject to the same constraints,” said Karsten Bennewitz, head of powertrain and energy systems in development, Volkswagen.
“That was a great challenge for the team of Technical Development and Group Components. The result shows that we were able to reduce the use of raw materials, while at the same time achieving a considerable increase in vehicle efficiency.”
Depending on the vehicle’s gear ratio, the drive solution can deliver a maximum torque of approximately 550Nm – providing superior power development from a standstill and at higher speeds. The APP550 electric drive achieves the high torque values by using an enhanced stator with a higher effective number of windings and a larger wire cross-section. Additionally, it’s counterpart, the rotor, features more powerful permanent magnets that have a higher load capacity.
The OEM developed the inverter to ensure it was capable of supplying the high phase currents required for enhanced power and efficiency. Furthermore, the component acts as the controlling brain in the vehicle’s powertrain and its functional software ensures efficient system processes.
Several other components were also optimized by the vehicle manufacturer to increase the electric drive’s efficiency; this included the thermal management system. The drive features an energy-saving cooling system which operates without an electrically driven oil pump. The system is capable of independently cooling itself via the gear wheels of the gearbox and features specially formed components for oil supply and distribution. Heated oil is cooled by the model’s coolant circuit, ensuring the drive is at operating temperature.
Volkswagen will manufacture the drive system with gearbox, rotor and stator at the Volkswagen Group Components plant in Kassel, Germany.
“We have been developing electric drive motors and their gearboxes for 15 years now, and have also been producing them here at our location for over 10 years,” said Alexander Krick, head of technical development e-drive, power electronics and transmission at Group Components.
“Drawing on our many years of experience, we optimized the overall system through, among other things, the use of special electrical sheets and customized machining processes and were thus able to significantly increase efficiency.”